Tropospheric column ozone (TCO) is derived from differential measurements of total column ozone from Nimus-7 and Earth Probe TOMS, and stratospheric column ozone from the Microwave Limb Sounder instrument on the Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite. It is shown that TCO during summer months over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at northern mid-latitudes is about the same (50-60 Dobson Units) as over the continents of North America, Europe and Asia, where surface emissions of nitrogen oxides from industrial sources, biomass and biofuel burning and biogenic emissions are significantly larger. This nearly uniform zonal variation in TCO is modulated by surface topography of the Rocky and Himalayan mountains and Tibetan Plateau where TCO is reduced by 20-30 Dobson Units. The zonal characteristics of TCO derived from satellite measurements are well simulated by a global chemical transport model called MOZART-2 (Model of Ozone and Related Chemical Tracers, version 2). The model results are analyzed to delineate the relative importance of various processes contributing to observed zonal characteristics of TCO, and they are shown that the surface emission of NOx contributes about 50% of the TCO at northern mid-latitudes, especially over the continents of North America, Europe and Asia. The result of TCO derived from TOMS and the analysis from MOZART-2 indicate that TCO is a very useful tool to study tropospheric O3 pollution resulting from surface emissions of pollutants.